"HOME-IMPROVEMENTS"Congratulations! You’ve just transferred to a new home or apartment. For sure, you are excited to decorate your new space to make it all your own. However, before you get caught up in the frenzy of repainting and decorating your new nest, or perhaps lose your head over furniture shopping, there are some small, yet essential improvements you need to attend to in order to keep your home safe and avoid jacking up your utility bills.

Check the list below for four of the most neglected home improvement tasks that homeowners are supposed to do when they transfer to a new home, and make sure to put them on top of your “must-do list” to avoid disasters down the road.

Change the door locks

Since you’ve just moved into a new home, especially if it’s an apartment, have you thought about who might still have the keys to its front door? The previous owners of your new nest may still have a key to it or they may have forgotten the keys they’ve provided to the housekeeper or one of their friends. With these things in mind, it’s wise to change your door locks.

This little improvement doesn’t have to cost a fortune. For as little as $20 or so, you can purchase a new knob, deadbolt or handle set. And, if you’re handy with tools, you can do the replacements yourself to save on labor costs.

Inspect, repair or replace old electrical wiring

If you’re like other homeowners, you’re probably thinking that rewiring your new home is not necessary. From a safety standpoint, however, this is actually one of the most important home improvements you have to do to prevent the risk of house fire, especially if you’ve transferred to an old home.

Before you start arranging your furniture, it’s best if you inspect the electrical wiring around your house. Check the cords and plugs to ensure that they are not burnt or torn. Equally important is to check the switches. They should not have cracks or chips on the surfaces and do not spark when you press them.

To ensure your safety, however, it’s probably best to contact a professional electrician to carry out the inspection. He or she can also tell you the necessary replacements that need to be done. Although this may cost you a bit upfront, do not discount the fact that this is a sound investment that will ensure your safety for the long term.

Inspect and repair plumbing system

A dripping faucet or a leaky toilet may seem insignificant on the surface. The truth, however, is that these simple things can jack up your water bills fast. In fact, studies have shown that leaking faucets and toilets waste up to 10 gallons of water per person each day.

If leaky faucet is your problem, you can easily address its by replacing the worn down rubber seal or washer. However, if the issue is more serious, say a leaky water heater or busted pipes, you will have to call in a professional plumber to inspect and repair your home’s plumbing system. Doing so will help you avoid paying for exorbitant water bills and prevent water damage and mold and mildew buildup from affecting your new abode.

Weatherstrip windows and doors and seal cracks

If one of the reasons why you’ve transferred to a new home is to save some cash, then you do not want to end up paying for high energy costs due to a drafty house, right? Then it’s just wise that you weatherstrip the windows and doors of your new home and seal the gaps and cracks on the walls before you even start arranging your furnishings.

Weatherstripping the doors and windows and sealing cracks and gaps on the walls can significantly reduce the drafty air inside your home and slash down your electric bills by as much as 30%. This home improvement won’t blast a hole in your pocket as there are numerous cheap, yet effective weatherstripping and sealing materials that you can buy to make your new home resistant to drafts. You don’t even have to pay for installation since weatherstripping and sealing are great DIY projects you can accomplish over the weekend.

This home improvement article was written in behalf of Home Coatings, a company based in Scotland specializing in roof and wall coatings. They also offer roof repair and replacement, roof cleaning, wall restoration and insulation, and penetrating damp treatments.